Cricket chiefs set to scrap coin-toss after 141 years and let away side decide who bats first

The ritual has played a part in every, single Test match since March 1877 – when England played Australia at the MCG.

But now, Test cricket appears set to follow the County Championship model in order to produce more exciting, evenly-contested matches.

County matches since 2016 have seen the coin toss scrapped and away skipper picking what he'd like to do.

Since then, 85 per cent of matches have gone into a final day, as opposed to 74 per cent in the 2015 season.

Notes from an ICC committee meeting in May read: "There is serious concern about the current level of home team interference in Test pitch preparation.

"More than one committee member believes that the toss should be automatically awarded to the visiting team in each match."

Meanwhile, former Australia coach Darren Lehmann wrote of the concept in his 2016 book, Coach.


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Lehmann claimed: "Put simply, surfaces are far too heavily weighted in favour of the home side.

"That does Test cricket no good at all. No one wants to see 600 plays 500 on pitches that offer the bowlers nothing.

"Producing tracks like that is the surest way to kill off the format.

"My solution to ensure the best possible pitches is, at international level, to do away with the toss, with the visiting side given the option of whether they want to bat or bowl.

"That way the result is not decided by the toss of the coin [and] host boards have a greater incentive to produce decent pitches that are fair to both sides."

In 2015, West Indies great Michael Holding added: "The minor setback there in my opinion, is that tosses are big for television.

"It makes for good tension, everyone is focused on that coin when it's in the air and the winning captain's decision and so on.

"But that isn't relevant now, times have changed and interest is waning in Test match cricket.

"What you need to do now is to make sure you have even contests between bat and ball.

"For that, there should be no toss and the visiting captain should be allowed to decide what he wants to do after inspecting the pitch."

Ex-Aussie skipper Steve Waugh added: "I think there's probably too much emphasis placed on the toss and the conditions away from home.

"I don't mind the authorities looking at some other options."

However, the stats suggest the toss doesn't actually make too much of a difference.

After all, since 1990, in the 1,048 Tests to have been played, the team winning the toss has won just THREE more games at 377 compared to 374.

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